Little Brother – Mandatory Police Surveillance

“Big Brother” is the name given to the totalitarian regime’s control network in George Orwell’s brilliant book 1984. Now, we tend to use the term Big Brother whenever the government spies on civilians, be it via camera’s on every corner, illegal wire-taps, or monitoring every single online activity.

The shift towards a police state – a surveillance state – has been a trend with no signs of slowing down. More restrictions on our freedoms, countless invasions of our privacy, and an ever present erosion of our civil liberties.

What we need, to help counter-balance Big Brother, is a way to police the police… a way to hold the members of law enforcement accountable for their actions. What we need is a way to monitor the police, and in effect, ‘tattle’ on them if the need be. Yes, we need a Little Brother.

Imagine if any police officer who is on duty and interacting with the public had to wear mandatory surveillance equipment to record and monitor their actions. A camera and microphone to capture the video and audio from their entire day’s work, with the results being put on a public web-site, unedited, available for all to see.

Take a look at this video, showing riot police beating an unarmed student.

If we had access to what these officers were able to see and hear, perhaps their actions may have been justified. Probably not, since two of them were suspended for this incident. Which brings forth the point… what if there wasn’t a bystander with a camera? These officers would have got away with their abuse of power.

By enabling an effective way for the public to police the police, the actions of the individual officers will change because they know they are no longer above scrutiny, no longer able to abuse their positions of power. They will, because Little Brother is watching, effectively police themselves.

Of course, an idea like this would be met with considerable opposition. Who would want to be monitored all day long by the public… no one, really. But the members of law enforcement are civil servants. Their actions should be representative of what we expect them to be. They are employees of the state, hired to serve and protect the public. We are their bosses, and they should, ultimately, report to the public. It is time to take back the power which is rightfully ours.

Now, the cost of something like this is probably not quite feasible, but technology is continuing to come down in price, and pretty soon it will be entirely possible to monitor all of the police. It is really just a matter of generating enough public will to make it happen. It is time to get the wheels of motion now, so that when the technology is cheap enough, we can put the plan into action.

Extenuating circumstances will need be considered, for cases when police are working undercover, or when revealing their actions or location could put their lives at risk. But for the most part, as undesirable as it may seem to those in law enforcement, we need a monitoring system like this in place to keep their power in check.

Ultimately, it would be nice to see a higher level of transparency permeate throughout all of our government bodies. The government should be afraid of the people… not the other way around, and Little Brother might just be the way in which we make this dream a reality.

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